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Elon Musk on Australia's energy crisis

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posted on May, 14 2020 @ 12:36 PM
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I'm pretty sure this interview with Elon Musk is at least a few months old because I remember seeing parts of it some time last year, but 60 Minutes Australia recently uploaded it to their YouTube channel and it's still relevant. The 60 Minutes segment is basically about the high energy prices in Australia, at one point Elon even gets teary-eyed when he's told how hard it is for some Australians. The solution Elon offers to Australia is the worlds biggest battery, which we now have, although it doesn't seem to have solved much.



Don't get me wrong I like Elon Musk, I think he has done and will continue doing great things for the world. Elon was also recently on the Joe Rogan podcast, where he talked about selling all his material possessions because he thinks too many people attack billionaires in today's political climate. This is a great example of why having a blind hatred for rich people regardless of how they got rich is toxic. No matter what Elon does to appease those people it will never be enough, not until he gives away all his money.

Elon also had a very interesting opinion on Covid-19 to share with Joe. He seemed convinced that we were overestimating the death numbers and the severity of the virus, which seems to be a controversial opinion but it's an opinion I fully agree with. I agree with Elon on many things, especially now that he seems to be speaking his mind and not filtering what he says as carefully as he did in the past, and when I see the MSM start to attack a person like Elon Musk it tends to make me listen more closely to that person.

Having said that, there are also some issues on which I strongly disagree with Elon, the main one being his position on "renewable" energy and how it can help Australia. I fully understand why he holds the position he does, electric cars are the future, battery technology and solar panels will only continue to get better, etc. However, we've been told for years that renewable energy would reduce energy prices when in reality in only seems to have the opposite effect everywhere it's tried including Australia.


originally posted by: ChaoticOrder

Over 40% of the electricity generated in South Australia comes from renewable sources[14] but it seems they have more blackouts and brownouts than any other state. It has also been reported that some places in South Australia have the highest electricity prices in the world[15]. This is why I find it highly disingenuous when some environmentalists try to claim new green tech is now more cost effective than methods such as coal or nuclear power generation.

On a private scale something like a solar panel can can save you money in the long term, but when a large-scale and reliable source of power is required it becomes less cost effective due to all the equipment required to generate any substantial amount of power. Moreover it becomes a problem to actually generate and store enough stable power for a modern society to function because the efficiency of fossil fuels and nuclear fission is much higher and you get much higher energy output.

Dissecting the Global Warming and Energy Issues in Australia


I'd like to know if there's actually a single example of any nation or state reducing energy costs by using more renewables. If it's such an obvious fact of reality that renewable energy is cheaper then it should be very easy to prove it. When you actually start looking into it you find that our estimations predict renewables could reach a similar cost to coal and gas by 2030, or some time "in the future" before 2050. These 2 articles were cited on the Wikipedia page titled Cost of electricity by source, under the part about Australia.


By 2030 renewable energy sources such as solar and wind will cost a similar amount to fossils fuels such as coal and gas, thanks to falling technology costs, according to new forecasts released in the CO2CRC’s Australian Power Generation Technology (APGT) Report. The report also shows that technology costs will fall faster under climate policies that limit the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million.

Wind, solar, coal and gas to reach similar costs by 2030: report



By the time renewables dominate electricity supply in Australia, it’s highly likely that a price on carbon will have been introduced. A conservative carbon price of at least A$20 per tonne would put coal in the A$100-plus bracket for a megawatt-hour of electricity. A completely renewable electricity system, at A$75-80 per MWh, would then be more affordable than coal economically, and more desirable environmentally.

Renewables will be cheaper than coal in the future. Here are the numbers


These estimations often rely on carbon taxes pushing up the price of fossil fuels, which ignores modern carbon capture technology. Not to mention these estimations are obviously biased towards renewables because they assume coal and gas plants wont get any more efficient but solar and wind will rapidly get better. I don't doubt solar panels will one day be more cost effective than fossil fuels, and I think some renewable methods such as hydro can produce cheap energy, but it only works in locations with constantly flowing water.

More to the point, there is a clear link between nations with aggressive renewable energy initiatives and high energy prices. South Australia is a clear example, Germany and Italy also invested heavily in renewables such as solar, this chart and this chart show Germany and Italy right along side South Australia as having the highest energy prices in the world. In the U.S. a similar trend can be seen, California has invested heavily in renewables but these charts show prices rose 3 times more than they did in the rest of the U.S. between 2016 and 2017.




posted on May, 14 2020 @ 12:36 PM
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Lets just assume solar and wind is cheaper, not everywhere is sunny and not everywhere is windy all of the time. I also have serious issues with calling solar and wind renewable because the materials required to build complex electronics is not renewable. In the 60 Minutes report with Elon they also interview the director of a Lithium mine and he allows the host to detonate a series of high explosives, which gives them a chuckle. The mine is also surrounded by trees so it's clear they had to destroy a large patch of forest in order to excavate.

There are many other materials mined from the Earth to produce solar panels and batteries, they also contain a lot of plastic which means they require oil. At one point in the interview Elon says "if it's not renewable that means it's going to run out at some point". Non-renewable materials are required to build electronics and they don't last forever so they are not renewable. It's also extremely important to acknowledge that massive fields of solar panels and wind turbines have an impact on the environment.

The amount of land required to power a nation on 100% renewables isn't negligible, powering a single house requires a big battery and around half a dozen panels at a minimum, multiply that for every household and you can see how it might get very expensive considering the price of a single panel, and that's exactly why renewable energy is so expensive, because it's intrinsically a dilute source of energy. I have no issue with people putting panels on their roof but when I see nature replaced with man-made machines and labeled as progress I have deep issues with that.

The director of the Lithium mine mentions several times how they export their Lithium directly to China and how China produces around half of the worlds Lithium batteries. This is important because the quality of renewable technology determines how clean it is. A report from ABC News Australia claims it takes around 10 years before a solar panel will produce enough clean energy to offset the emissions created during its manufacturing, but we're seeing many low quality panels from China die as soon as 2 years after they were installed.

To provide some context to U.S. readers, Australia has a population of around 25 million whereas New York City has a population around 8.5 million, meaning we only need enough power for three NYC-sized populations. On top of that the average Australian household uses almost half as much electricity as an average American household, so we need even less than that. Somehow we seem to have a scarcity of energy though and a big battery wont fix that because a battery only stores energy, it obviously doesn't generate energy.

Batteries themselves don't last forever and create a lot of toxic waste. Just because something appears technical and futuristic doesn't automatically make it environmentally friendly. Nuclear energy is an exception to that rule, these charts show the material throughput for different energy sources and the amount of waste they produce, nuclear energy requires far less materials and produces several hundreds times less waste than solar panels. I know I always rant about nuclear energy but it's important.

If we truly want to solve our energy problems we need to find a reliable and cost effective base-load solution. Australia is the most stable continent on Earth and we heave the largest reserves of Uranium in the world. We mine some of that Uranium and export it to the rest of the world then we often take back their nuclear waste for storage, but we don't have a single nuclear reactor of our own. Modern nuclear reactors have many safety mechanisms, and they could be even safer if we actually invested in them like nuclear fusion.
edit on 14/5/2020 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 14 2020 @ 12:48 PM
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a reply to: ChaoticOrder

I think you need to watch Planet of the humans before you post this.
Elon Musk has always made me want to vomit on my own junk.

Lets go to Mars he says....hey Elon (you dumb schumck) we can't even figure out how to live on Earth yet.

I hate the guy and people like him.




Lets just assume solar and wind is cheaper,


I don't like just assuming, I like information first.
How much energy does it take to make solar panels??
The answer is not a green one.



posted on May, 14 2020 @ 01:01 PM
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originally posted by: DrumsRfun
a reply to: ChaoticOrder

I think you need to watch Planet of the humans before you post this.

You probably missed it but I posted a thread about Planet of the Humans a few weeks ago. One of my motivations for this thread was because I saw a lot of people on social media claiming Planet of the Humans is using outdated arguments because some of their footage is old. This thread is in part designed to show that a lot of the arguments they make in the film are still totally valid because most of the mining and manufacturing processes stay the same even if the technology improves. It may be nice to imagine that damage magically disappears but it doesn't.
edit on 14/5/2020 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 14 2020 @ 01:08 PM
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a reply to: ChaoticOrder



That movie kind of depressed me....it seems the lies are always so big, we always lose.
I still can't stand Elon Musk, he thinks his billions of dollars speak for all mankind.

His neurolink thing is a really messed up idea, both him and Bill Gates deserve the shark tank treatment.



posted on May, 14 2020 @ 01:29 PM
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a reply to: DrumsRfun


His neurolink thing is a really messed up idea

I don't really know how I feel about neurolink yet, it could help a lot of sick people but the idea is a bit creepy. I'm certainly not willing to have a chunk cut out of my skull and replaced with a mini-computer just so I can perform a Google search hands free. The telepathy idea Elon brought up is pretty interesting though.



posted on May, 14 2020 @ 03:30 PM
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a reply to: ChaoticOrder

Musk has ideas, that is all.

Did he build spaceX by himself? no. Is he responsible for "his" tesla driverless car that killed a person? no.

The egotist forgets that theory doesn't lead to practical success, for instance of I proposed an idea to create a mind controlled hang glider to speed up commutes, sounds cool on paper but if i jump off the roof, i'd hit the ground like a sack of potatoes.

Some Ideas should stay on the drawing board before they are put into practise, look at the stealth fighter, it's test flight wasn't in desert storm, yet still people think this man is a genius.



posted on May, 14 2020 @ 03:43 PM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie

Elon is a selfish piece of poop, not because he is rich....its because he is trying to implement his plans on mankind like he is some sort of a master.
Billions of dollars can make you an egomaniac, they are not the humanitarians they claim to be if they are not giving us a choice.


Again, we can't even figure out how to live on this planet and this douchebag wants us to colonize Mars?
What an idiot!!!

I guess billions of dollars allows you to speak for all mankind.....and he has ALL the answers, ask him and he will tell you about it.



edit on 14-5-2020 by DrumsRfun because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 14 2020 @ 05:23 PM
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The reason electricity is still so expensive in Australia is the same reason I paid $1.20 for diesel yesterday..... It's because we're constantly getting gouged by greedy pricks at very step in the supply chain.
The same reason we pay double the price for our gas than the offshore countries we sell it to.
The same reason interest rate drops are never passed on by the banks.
Same
Same
Same.



edit on 14/5/20 by homerJ because: spelling



posted on May, 15 2020 @ 02:44 AM
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originally posted by: DrumsRfun
a reply to: Thecakeisalie

Again, we can't even figure out how to live on this planet and this douchebag wants us to colonize Mars?
What an idiot!!!

Personally I don't see anything idiotic about that at all, colonizing another planet as soon as possible is crucial to ensuring the existence of our species. It also pushes us to develop more advanced methods of space travel which is also very important. It's certainly not impossible to colonize Mars even with our current technology if we tried hard enough.



posted on May, 15 2020 @ 02:50 AM
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The same reason we pay double the price for our gas than the offshore countries we sell it to.

It is certainly true we often get screwed over by our leaders and that is a large part of why we pay so much for energy, but it's also clear that a large part of it has to do with our plan to solve the problem. If more renewable energy was actually going to solve the problem as we are constantly told, then places like South Australia should have cheap energy instead of the most expensive energy in the world. It's a combination of mistakes made on many levels, which result in the situation we face now. And instead of sucking it up and admitting we need a new approach we just continue full steam ahead down the same path.

EDIT: if I'm not mistaken most of our cheap gas goes to China because of a deal our government made many years ago. Now that China seems to be waging a trade war against us because of our attempts to investigate the source of Covid-19, I think it's high time we start to rethink some of these rigged deals and put our own country first.
edit on 15/5/2020 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 15 2020 @ 03:46 AM
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originally posted by: Thecakeisalie
a reply to: ChaoticOrder

The egotist forgets that theory doesn't lead to practical success

Well if anyone has a chance of turning crazy ideas into reality I'd say it's Elon, and I have to respect him for that. Yes he does involve himself in many grand schemes such as AI research, brain interfaces, electric cars, getting to Mars, etc, and I agree that some of these things are still a bit beyond us but they're certainly not impossible. I also think Elon is getting much wiser with age and becoming a more relatable person. Several years ago I wouldn't have defended Elon at all like I am now, but I've come to like him as a person and respect his skill. It's not like he knows nothing and makes everyone else do all the work, he is quite knowledgeable and often gets involved with the design processes.



posted on May, 15 2020 @ 07:37 AM
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Watching that 60 Minutes bit makes me glad I turned off the tv a while ago. Will leave it off a bit longer. Strong on emotion light on facts. The shots from the mine looked good.

Yeah South Australia has high energy prices, lots of deals and distance going on. Australia is a big place and a city of 1 million still has some of that county town vibe going on, getting shafted by the eastern states.

I don't know about Elon Musk... South Africa is a tough place, growing up there makes a tough nugget. Not sure about the money side. His vision has hope. Space is a tough place, many will die, but if a few survive and find another place, i don't know. Better than zombies.



posted on May, 15 2020 @ 12:48 PM
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Elon Musk claim to fame Paypal. I'll give him that. The Space X program is cool, trying to create reusable rockets.

However, he is by no right, a genius. Far from it and as a matter of fact, as time goes by i'm starting to believe the man is a complete moron.

A rich moron, but a moron nonetheless.



posted on May, 18 2020 @ 08:55 AM
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originally posted by: ChaoticOrder
a reply to: DrumsRfun
I'm certainly not willing to have a chunk cut out of my skull and replaced with a mini-computer just so I can perform a Google search hands free.

Interesting Outer Limits Episode - "The Stream of Consciousness" - about this very topic.




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